For today's Warm Up, students must apply the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems. I intentionally included a "ladder problem" as the game we will play today includes a similar problem and I want student to have the opportunity to make sense of this problem and clear up a common misconception that the ladder is a leg of the right triangle. To do this, I ask students what would happen if I had a ladder and I stood it straight up and started to climb it. Most students realize that the ladder would fall over. I then explain that ladders typically lean against a wall when used. I then ask students to imagine what part of a right triangle a ladder would represent and reiterate their understanding with the drawing so they can see it represents the hypotenuse. This small intervention is helpful to my students, especially those who have limited English proficiency or little or no experience with ladders.
For work time, students participate in a collaborative game that provides practice with applying the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems. To set up the game, I gather 10 containers and number the lids from one to ten. Then, I cut the game questions up and place them in the corresponding containers. Before the game starts, I ask the students to go to the next page in their journals, title the page "MI: Pythag Theorem" and number from 1-10.
Students groups (of 4 or fewer) select one team member to be the “runner”. When the game begins, each runner takes ONE container and brings it to the group. The group answers the question in the container and then returns the question and trades it with a container they have not yet seen. Once all questions have been answered by the group, the runner brings his/her group’s answer to me to check. Depending on time remaining, I either tell the runner the number of questions they have correct, or I tell them to focus on particular answers they have missed. The first team to answer all 10 questions correctly wins, but all groups continue to work until they have ten correct answers.
To add to the energy of the game, I play the Mission Impossible Theme song on repeat found at http://w3.uwyo.edu/~dwwilson/music.htm under TV Shows.
Once the 30-minute game has ended, I distribute a 3 x 5 note card to each student for them to create their "Ticket Out the Door" response. I display the question and ask students to work independently to solve the problem. Their responses provide essential feedback to me about student approaches and proficiency levels with applying the Pythagorean Theorem to solve problems. I provide additional time in the form of before and after school tutoring for students who need it.